Chinese scientists make a bird-repelling laser to protect the airport

Chinese scientists make a bird-repelling laser to protect the airport


2022-08-07 20:19:50

The South China Morning Post (SCMP) reports that the artificial intelligence-driven system will automatically search for birds in flight and then shoot painful laser beams at them until they leave the sky. limited.

Led by Professor Zhao Fan at Xi’an University of Technology, the team published the findings in the journal Laser & Optoelectronics Progress. According to experts, the high-energy laser beam is guided by a smart camera with built-in image recognition and tracking algorithms. They say their bird-tracking algorithm has achieved a 50% performance improvement over existing target-tracking algorithms.

Bird crashes are a major risk to the aviation industry. Photo: Reuters

Collisions with birds of the air are a major risk to aircraft, with about 20,000 incidents occurring globally each year. Most bird-aircraft collisions occur during take-off and landing, with 90% occurring in the air above the airport and 50% occurring 30 meters above the ground.

The system developed by Professor Zhao and her colleagues consists of four parts: a camera for bird detection, a video processing module for tracking targets, a laser emitter and a moving mirror for reflection. radiation and beam direction.

Chinese scientists create a laser to repel birds to protect the airport - Photo 2.

Image of a bird being tracked through a normal camera and a thermal camera. Photo: Zhao Fan

The AI ​​makes decisions about detecting, tracking, aiming and firing targets, while the video camera captures a real-time image of the designated airspace. When the AI ​​detects a bird, it guides the laser beam to scare away the animal.

According to the study author, field experiments show that the laser bird repellent system can be effective against flying creatures within 1,000 meters. AI algorithm is also evaluated at the same time through normal camera and thermal camera, so it has higher performance than similar algorithms.

Ms. Zhao Fan said the laser system’s average success rate and target tracking accuracy were 47.5% and 51.2%, respectively.

However, a civil aviation expert has expressed concerns about the technology. “We have to take into account its potential risk to pilots. We cannot put it to use unless the system is 100% accurate,” said the expert, who requested anonymity.

Zhou Haixiang, a wildlife conservationist in Liaoning province, says that the type of laser and the intensity of the beam will be the main factors affecting the system’s effectiveness.

Many airports are built next to the habitat of precious wild birds. For example, Jinzhouwan Airport in Liaoning, is located next to the habitat of cranes and condors. Xuanzhou Airport in Anhui is near the white crane habitat. If the laser is strong enough to hurt a protected species, it’s against the law”, he said.

Zhou Haixiang said most airports in China use nets or sound and light systems to scare away birds, but many wild birds have learned to adapt after finding them harmless. Therefore, the birds can also adapt to the laser.

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